LOS ANGELES - James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are the names that will persuade moviegoers to see Enough Said, but viewers will be entering the world of director Nicole Holofcener - and celebrating when they leave. In her fifth feature, Holofcener continues to make funny, melancholy, dead-on honest films about fallible people attempting not to make a mess of their lives.
LOS ANGELES — James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are the names that will persuade moviegoers to see Enough Said, but viewers will be entering the world of director Nicole Holofcener — and celebrating when they leave.
In her fifth feature, Holofcener continues to make funny, melancholy, dead-on honest films about fallible people attempting not to make a mess of their lives.
Because her films are so intimate, they allow the actors to blossom. Both Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini reveal sides of themselves not often seen as they play two people drawn to each other but unsure how to handle what turns out to be a complicated attraction.
Holofcener has them explore everything from empty-nest syndrome to the pitfalls of firing the help. But what Enough Said looks at most is how we sabotage ourselves and one another by not understanding, as the title indicates, how to avoid saying too much or too little but just enough.
This holds especially true for Louis-Dreyfus’ Eva. The busy masseuse is introduced in an entertaining montage of snapshots from her professional life, cheerfully putting up with the thoughtless foibles of her regular customers: clients who talk too much, smell badly or don’t help with the heavy lifting.
Eva is a divorced single mother who is nervously preparing for a major change in her day-to-day situation: Her only child, daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway), is about to head cross-country to college, leaving her very much alone.
Eva’s best friend, Sarah (the versatile Toni Collette), is a psychotherapist who could use some help with her own marriage — to Will (Ben Falcone). The couple drag Eva to a party, where she meets two people who take over her life as well as the film.
Marianne (Catherine Keener) is a successful poet. A fastidious individual who has the impeccable house that Eva would kill for, she turns out to be in need of both massages and friendship. Albert (Gandolfini) is a divorced single dad and a TV archivist. As people of a certain age, Eva and Albert bond over empty-nest syndrome — his sharp-tongued daughter Tess (Eve Hewson) is also leaving for college — and soon enough they are happily going out together. With a catch.
Marianne can’t help sharing her continued distaste for her unapologetic slob of an ex-husband who, Eva slowly comes to realize, is none other than her new love, Albert. How these confidences affect Eva and what she says — and doesn’t say — about them is this film’s provocative central dynamic.
One of the pleasures of the film is watching Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini come alive as individuals and as the halves of a relationship.